Special to Atmore News
Following 450 home fires over the past three months in Alabama, the Red Cross urges residents to test their smoke alarms and practice their escape plan with everyone in their household.
Local Red Cross volunteers helped 1,438 people affected by these fires, providing essentials like shelter, emergency financial assistance, food, relief items like toiletries, health and mental health services, and one-on-one support to connect affected residents to available recovery assistance.
The recent fires are among more than 1,730 home fires that the organization has responded to so far this year in Alabama.
“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by these tragic fires, as we continue to provide support to those who need it,” said Damon Summers, Alabama and Mississippi Region Regional Disaster Officer. “Although apartment and condo buildings are more likely to have sprinkler systems and fire alarms, it’s still critical to have a fire escape plan and working smoke alarms in your unit.”
HOW TO STAY SAFE
Residents can follow these tips to help stay safe:
•Learn your building’s fire safety features, including fire alarms, sprinklers and evacuation plans.
•Make sure all exits are clearly marked and not blocked.
•Know locations of all available exit stairwells, as one or more of the exits might be blocked by fire.
•Individuals with access or functional needs, including a disability, should learn where the closest area of safe refuge is.
•Identify a meeting place for members of your household that is outside and away from the building.
•Talk to your apartment management if you have concerns about alarms or sprinklers in your unit.
•If smoke or fire enters your unit and you cannot immediately escape, call 9-1-1 to report your location. Open a window slightly; wave a bright cloth or a light at night to identify your location. If smoke enters the unit, stay low to the floor to breathe the best air.
For home fire safety resources and tips, visit redcross.org/fire or download the free Red Cross Emergency App (search “American Red Cross” in app stores or go to redcross.org/apps).
HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN
Home fires take seven lives each day in the U.S., most often in homes without working smoke alarms. That’s why the Red Cross is working with partners to install free smoke alarms in high-risk communities and help families create escape plans through its Home Fire Campaign — which has saved at least 1,148 lives across the country since launching in October 2014.
For updates, follow the Alabama and Mississippi Region of the American Red Cross on Twitter at @RedCrossMiss. You can also visit
Emergency App w/Shelter info: Anyone who needs to find a shelter may visit redcross.org/shelter, download the free Red Cross Emergency App or call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). The Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
How to help: During and after disasters, cash donations best enable the Red Cross to help people recover from disasters big and small. Call, click, or text to give: visit redcross.org, call 1-800 RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation donate online at www.redcross.org. Individuals can also sign up to become a volunteer.